I was diagnosed with Rectal Cancer on February 10, 2012. It wasn’t a complete surprise. I had joked with my wife Dawnette a couple months earlier that I had a dream that the pain I was going through was actually cancer. Kinda interesting when you fast-forward to today.
Let me be up front…this is going to be pretty blunt & as descriptive as possible, so if you are squeemish, you might want to hit the back button on your browser at this point.
For some background, since roughly May 2011 I started experiencing some pain…because of the location, symptoms, etc. I figured it was hemorrhoids. I don’t get them often, but you just do the usual Preparation-H & a week or so later you’re good to go. This was a bit different though, the pain seemed a bit more intense.
After trying the Preparation-H for a couple weeks, I eventually went to the doctor in August (yes, it’s called procrastination). My GP gave me the latex glove treatment & told me I had hemorrhoids. After giving me a couple of prescriptions, she told me to check back with her in 30-60 days.
During this time, the pain kept getting worse…more intense and accompanied by bleeding. Not just the usual blood-tinged stool, but it started literally dripping blood. Bowel movements became increasingly painful as well. The stool wasn’t hard…it was fairly soft, but it was still painful nonetheless.
After 60+ days of no relief, I figured I would try some herbal remedies. I ordered some Mayinglong Musk Hemorrhoids Ointment Cream from Amazon.com & that seemed to alleviate the pain, at least temporarily…perhaps “sooth” the pain might be a better explanation. I also started using “wet-wipes” that I saturated with Witch Hazel. That had a slight soothing effect as well. Remember, we thought we were treating hemorrhoids. I also purchased some Horse Chestnuts (don’t ask, I have NO idea) & Butcher’s Broom (again, don’t ask…it said it would work, so I was up to trying just about anything).
By this point, I had also started doing HOT baths with epsom salt…this also seemed to provide temporary pain relief….and then there were the ice packs…sitting on an ice pack tended to sooth what we thought were swollen hemorrhoids.
Dawnette & I went to New York to visit with family, go to the City (we went & saw Wicked on Broadway), etc. On the way back (literally the day before we left), I came down with some sort of facial skin rash of some sort. I thought we could wait it out, but the cream we bought before heading to the airport to get back to Dallas did nothing. So on the way home, we stopped at the Frisco Urgent Care facility. They gave me some steroidal cream & then gave me an additional prescription for my hemorrhoids.
A month went by & I had enough…I went back to my GP & had a follow-up visit, explaining to her that the bleeding wasn’t the usual blood-tinged stool, but rather, dripping blood. She also was surprised that I was still in the severe pain I was in, so she set me up with a visit to an oncologist.
I met with Dr. B & got the white glove treatment & he too thought it was hemorrhoids, though was concerned with the bleeding & pain. He set me up with a colonoscopy for January 31st, 2012.
When the day came, I was a bit nervous/apprehensive, but we got there at 7:30 a.m. for the 8:30 a.m. appointment. They got me in pretty quick…and the procedure seemed to be over in no time.
As I was awakening from the anesthesia, I remember they brought Dawnette to me in my little cubby they had wheeled me to. Dr. Burleson told me that the result of the colonoscopy was that I didn’t have hemorrhoids, but it was rectal cancer.
To be honest, all this time I had been more-so frustrated with myself as I thought I was simply being a wuss for not being able to handle the pain from stupid hemorrhoids. At least I knew I wasn’t being a wuss…it was something a heck of a lot more severe than just hemorrhoids!
He then told me that the cancer itself was 3 1/2 – 4″ in size (6-8+ centimeters)…the problem is that the rectum is only 4-6 inches in size itself, so my cancer is over half the size of my rectum! Well, that explains the ridiculous pain I am in!